UNTOLD MILLIONS by Laura Z. Hobson


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Reading like a lightly refurbished curio from the Twenties, this tale of a lass who loves unwisely is a period-piece gala of financial cliff-hangers. Jossie Stone, novice Manhattan advertising copy-writer, has borrowed money just once--for her senior year at college, a whopping $800.00 (this is 1923, remember). So now Jossie is conscientiously paying it back in driblets, but her lover, adman Rick Baird, is the sort of charmer who'll sweep aside a deskful of bills and trot out the champagne. Thus, life with the man she adores, ""so variegated, so gifted,"" turns out to be ""a snake pit full of money. . . everything that's ever happened to us is mixed up with money."" There are four years of: borrowing; learning about something called the Morris Plan (one co-signs for a beloved's loan); watching with dismay as luxury items bought on thin air move into their apartment; and juggling figures. Furthermore, patsy Jossie tries supporting Rick (she's a whiz at freelancing) while he works on a doomed book; he asks her to help support his estranged wife, a painter in Paris, and her two children; he pillages joint accounts. Finally, bitterly, Jossie accepts the inevitable: she discovers, not to her surprise, that she may be just one in a series of adoring co-signers--and she decides she'll sacrifice financial plums for a humble meat-and-potatoes job as a lowly ($25.00 a week) reporter. Those who remember will enjoy the ironic, timely touches (quality-of-life vs. inflation), and Hobson's dated but efficient popular style chugs forward without a shiver or creak. All in all--a nostalgic change-of-pace (though still a morality play of sorts) from a veteran message-novelist.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row